Boating and Kayaking
Canoe & Kayak Taranaki. This store offers a range of guided trips taking in the best of the region's ocean and river paddling. Popular options include the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Park, just off the coast of New Plymouth (NZ$70 per person, minimum two people, three hours); the scenic Mokau River (NZ$80 per person, minimum four people, one day); and the slightly more challenging (class 2 rapids) Waitara River (NZ$70 per person, minimum three people, three–four hours). 631 Devon Rd., Waikwakiho, New Plymouth, Taranaki, 4312. 06/769–5506. www.canoeandkayak.co.nz/Taranaki.
Happy Chaddy's Charters. A launch with this outfit inevitably starts with the guide announcing, "Hold on to your knickers, because we're about to take off." Then the old English lifeboat rocks back and forth in its shed (with you on board), slides down its rails, and hits the sea with a spray of water. If your time in town is limited, do try to spare an hour for this trip (NZ$35), during which you'll see seals, get a close-up view of the Nga Motu–Sugar Loaf Islands just offshore, and be thoroughly entertained by skipper, former fisherman, and definite character Happy Chaddy. You can also rent kayaks (singles NZ$15 per hour, doubles NZ$30 per hour) and charter a boat for a fishing trip (NZ$80 per person, minimum eight people); these start at 7 am to avoid choppy water. Paddy usually takes a break in midwinter. Ocean View Parade, New Plymouth, Taranaki, 4310. 06/758–9133. www.windwand.co.nz/chaddiescharters.